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Why is a nation of DIYers spending so much on funerals?

Official paperwork requirements are derailing the DIY funeral movement.

People know grieving is helped by building coffin or stretcher, using their own vehicle to transport the body, inserting the death notice in the paper themselves, choosing their own memorials, or not, and organising all the other stuff, service sheets, flowers, etc.  These things bring us together, give us something to do, move us out of numbness, and lay down memories that have a sequence and a meaning that can be called upon later. 

Death Without Debt is focused on the question of why more people aren't able to D.I.Y. funerals.  We are here to dismantle the dysfunctional system which traps people in the funeral industry's business plan and replace it with a simple system that protects people from predation.

To date, the independent advice of D.I.Y. websites, booklets and so-on has glossed over the obstacles faced by families trying to negotiate the pre-cremation (and to a lesser extent the pre-burial) paperwork process.  This has been a huge oversight and led many people to believe that they were the problem, not the system!

Changing the paperwork system will make hiring a funeral director optional and allow our society to start to break free of the American Way of Death – a business model which has evolved to maximize profits while only paying lip service to family and community well-being.   Be cautious about so-called “D.I.Y.” funeral providers.  Check it's not just a marketing image. Check what the professional service fees actually involve.  Check whether, if you've made a coffin or cremation board etc yourself, you're going to be charged for one anyway as part of a package deal.

New Zealanders have been wanting to D.I.Y. their funerals and save money for a long time but have been derailed by the paperwork.  If the paperwork has made you feel confused and unconfident that is the fault of the system.  It's not you.


If you're a, the single most important thing you can do to help the movement grow is to call on government and councils to sort the paperwork issue and end the funeral industry's captive market.


D.I.Y. funerals are also good for the environment.  Keeping the body cold saves relying on toxic embalming chemicals.  Opting for simpler, unpainted or lacquered coffins, (or no coffin at all), also removes toxic glues and lacquers from the equation.  

And finally, have you thought about the impact travel to funerals has on the environment?

More advice on D.I.Y.  

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